The defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and the draw at home with Cadiz put pressure on the Dutch coach.

Barcelona players must take more responsibility

Ronald Koeman expressed his relief after Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Elche in LaLiga, ending a week of disappointing results. The defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and the draw at home with Cadiz put pressure on the Dutch coach. “We needed to win after two results,” Koeman said. “We had a great second half, and we made a difference and we had to do better in the first half. Ahead of the match, Koeman singled out experienced players, urging them to take more responsibility. Lionel Messi responded and scored twice against Elche. I’m talking about veterans. I don’t mean him because Messi still scores a lot of goals,” Koeman explained. “These are the others who have to make a difference, not Messi. He still scores as he showed today.”

Messi is asking for more intensity

Messi’s disappointment at the lack of impetus by Barcelona in the first half was apparent to those in the stadium and watching at home. “Everyone could see that we lacked intensity and rhythm, especially on the ball,” added Koeman. “It’s good that Messi, as captain, is asking for intensity. The lack of intensity can be anything. Let’s not forget that we played a lot. The player can get tired. There are many substitutes to try and refresh the team. We are always looking for the best for the match we play in. Players like Antoine Griezmann have played so many games. We had to find freshness. Sometimes you have to make changes to freshen things up.”

Miralem Pjanic’s low performance may explain Barcelona’s sluggish first half. The midfielder was hooked during the break. “He needs to improve his ball rhythm and know his position,” Koeman said of his summer signing. “If you substitute a player, it seems like he was to blame for a bad first half, but it’s not. The others did not give the rhythm to the game. We dropped Messi to No.10 and opened up the field with Ousmane Dembele to get depth. That’s why I made the change.”